Beating Al-Zir

Q 3: I delivered a sermon on the prohibition of sitting with people who are dancing and singing. I also discussed the game of Al-Zir played by Banu Malik. Some old people of the neighborhood responded that such games are heroic and popular, for they contain no obscene words or any women dancing. Rather the players hold swords, rifles, and beat upon a big Zir i.e. jar, covered with camel skin or a wooden blank covered with cow skin and it is beaten upon twice. The person who beats upon it is called the drummer and is given a sum of money for what he does. Is this kind of playing Haram (prohibited) or Halal (lawful), so that we can answer them? We need your answer on the basis of your official capacity to issue a Fatwa in this regard.

A: Beating the Duf is permissible in weddings to announce the marriage and in the presence of women only. As for men, it is not permissible for them to beat the Duf or any other musical instruments, for Allah (Exalted be He) says, And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allâh, or the Verses of the Qur’ân) by way of mockery. The idle talks refer to singing and the musical instruments accompanying it. If customs are in conflict with the rules of Shari`ah, they must be (Part No. 26; Page No. 259) abandoned. Subsequently, your efforts to resist evil are right and praised. May Allah reward you. As for playing with weapons as a kind of training and making preparations for fighting the enemy, there is nothing wrong with that, for it is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not deny a group of Al-Habash i.e. Abyssinians, who were playing with their weapons in his Masjid (mosque). Such act is included in Allah's direction: And make ready against them all you can of power May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.